Okay. It’s approaching Christmas and you haven’t joined all those societies you said you were going to. Granted, you’ve made some serious headway on Peep Show – and at this point are starting to weirdly sympathise with Mark as essay deadlines close in. That being said, you’re thinking that you should probably join up with at least one society. Maybe you’re looking to make friends, or maybe you want to take up something new.
The joy of University is that everyone here has agreed to spend 3 years and nearly £50,000 studying one fairly specific thing – in short, you don’t really get to pretend you’re too cool for school here, so getting involved in societies is something that basically everyone can, and should, do.
With that in mind, a couple of things:
- Yes, they want you to come.
Societies are literally always on the lookout for new members. From the most cynical possible perspective, the more members they have, the more money they have. From the perspective that actually motivates our brilliant and hard-working Society committees, the more active members they have, the more cool stuff they can do. I guarantee that no society will be dismissive of you joining.
2. No, it’s not too late for you to join.
Even if they’ve assigned roles or are mid-way through a project, that’s no reason not to join. The vast majority of societies have some sort of social component to them. To give some examples, English Society does regular get-togethers for members, from Louis Theroux marathons to pub crawls, and Debate Society has some great socials. (Shameless self-plug for Societies where I’m on the committee, there.)
3. Yes, the Societies Officer will respond to your email, and they’re happy to help you find a society.
This year, the Societies Officer for Mile End campus is an incredibly charismatic and excellent person, who I hear is great at his job. It is also me. It is literally part of my job to help students find societies, so if you have an interest and want to express it at QMUL, drop me a line. If you’re nervous about joining up with a society, I can help with that, too. My email is always open – firstname.lastname@example.org – and I guarantee that I’ll reply within 3 working days during term time, and I usually reply within 36 hours.
4. Yes, you absolutely can try before you buy.
In my opinion, most societies offer incredible value for money. Debate Society offers a year of comprehensive debate training for a less than the price of a Spoons sesh. But, it’s Christmas, we’re students, so cash is tight. If you want to try a society before signing up, you absolutely can do so. Just turn up to an event. They’ll be delighted to see you, and if you’re a fan of what they’ve got going, then buy a membership and just like that, you’re a fully paid-up member of a society you enjoy.
5. Yes, all societies are listed on www.qmsu.org/societies/findme/
Head to that link, which has a comprehensive list of all the societies that we currently have enrolled. There’s over 200 of them, and there really is something for everyone. If you like the looks of one, check out either the societies calendar – see that here – or see if they have a Facebook page (the vast majority of societies do.) They’ll probably be advertising at least one event, and if you like what you see, then head down to their event and see what they have to offer.
6. Yes, it absolutely is something you should do.
Look, I’m obviously biased – it’s my job to help societies. But societies are about so much more than just ‘a thing to put on your CV’. I met some of my closest friends through joining a society. I have had my organisational skills improved, learned some new skills, and had some of the best nights out of my time at University. I’m writing this from the perspective of a 3rd year who’s had a great time at QMUL and wants you to have a great time too. Honest. Yeah, some societies do look great on your CV, and they’re a great way to show management, project leading and teamwork skills, but they’re also just a really, really good time.
7. The Re-Freshers Fair is about more than just that free Domino’s slice.
Soon, the Re-Freshers fair will be upon us – check the QMSU website for details – and that means that societies will be out in force, actively looking for new members. Go, peruse a few stalls. There are members waiting to have a conversation with you. Find out some stuff about societies, see what’s going on, ask a few questions. Worst case scenario, you have a couple of interesting conversations with really nice, enthusiastic people. Best case scenario, you begin the start of a long and beautiful relationship between yourself and your newfound interest. Societies put a huge amount of effort into their presence at the Fair, so please do head down and have a chat to them.
With all that said, I really do hope some of you on the fence about societies hop off it and get involved. We have hundreds of different societies, and thousands of students as society members. It’s New Year’s soon, so why not make it a resolution. If you do have any questions, seriously, feel free to email me.